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First Bio Certified Honey in Georgia

In a country first, eighteen Jara beekeepers in Ajara have received Bio certification. Jara honey was not even commercially harvested and branded until 2018, however the market for the honey has proved its strength so successfully that the beekeepers saw the opportunity to further promote their product through bio certification.  

The conversion was relatively simple and certainly achievable as Jara honey is based on the capture of wild swarms and is relatively hands off. Since November 2018, the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA) has been facilitating training and on-site recommendations; it also provides treatment of hives with a Bio vet medicine and special equipment for the mentioned Jara beekeepers. The beekeepers now follow the bio requirements; including keeping records, better husbandry, use of bio vet medicine. This allowed for smooth journey through the minimum one-year conversion period for certification.

Caucascert, the only organic certification company in Georgia issued the internationally recognized Bio certificates after laboratory results and field checks, which did not show any incompliance.

‘I am very proud that I was able to get Bio certification. It was challenging, as I did not have any kind of information before, but support from the JBA was crucial. I can already see the outcomes, because the process already contributed to minimizing disease risk and increase productivity of a Jara hive by thirty percent’ – Bio certified Jara beekeeper from Keda municipality.

Six more Jara beekeepers, including the Jara apiary in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden, are currently undergoing the certification process and might obtain certification by the end of this year.

The Jara honey mark was registered in February, 2020 and both its production and the market for it, including export is growing. More details on Jara honey to be found on www.jarahoney.com.

OTHER NEWS
07/10/2015
Bio Security Build-up
Construction of the two Bio Security Points on the Animal Movement Route is now in full swing in Marneuli and Rustavi municipalities. In a month since works commenced, the main ground works have been completed. 

The NFA announced a tender on September 28th for the construction of two further Bio Security Points of the same design in Dedoplistskaro and Sighnaghi municipalities. The tender winner company was identified on October 5th.

06/10/2015
Advent of Agro-Journalism

For the first time in Georgia 6 universities will soon offer specialized courses on agricultural journalism.

The universities in Batumi, Kutaisi, Gori, Telavi, Akhaltcikhe and Caucasus International Universities in Tbilisi who already offer academic programmes on journalism, mass communications and agricultural education will now add agro journalism. The course prospective tutors have just had Training of Trainers for two days.

16/09/2015
The First Women’s Room in Ajara

Following work in KK and SJ  the Women’s Room model is being replicated in Ajara region, where Ajara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is proving an invaluable partner by opening the first Women’s Room at the Association of Business Women of Ajara (ABWA).

The “Women’s Room” will open up opportunities for the ABWA in terms of coordinating activities, trainings, advocacy raising meetings and information sharing. All these will contribute into stimulating women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment and attracting more women members to the association.

10/09/2015
Minister Publicizes Animal Movement Route Work

The Ministry of Agriculture through the National Food Agency has posted details of the construction of the six Bio Security Points on the Animal Movement Route, the construction of two of which have started this month.

http://nfa.gov.ge/

https://www.facebook.com/

Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia stated.

“It is very important that concrete steps toward the development of the livestock sector have been taken. Rehabilitation and modernization of the Animal Movement Route has started. Building modern standard Bio Security Points will promote animal health protection and will reduce the spread of animal disease” – he said.

24/08/2015
Buzz on Batumi Boulevard

Locals, interested parties including the Minister of Agriculture of Ajara and tourists, in the height of the Batumi summer run enjoyed a new addition to the summer time calendar of events with the first Ajara Honey Festival on August 22nd on Batumi Boulevard. The festival was organized by The Beekeepers Association of Ajara, an entity belonging to the Ajara Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ajara is a major producer of honey in Georgia and the programme has completed a sector survey and commenced numerous interventions. The festival was a first step in promoting Ajara as a producer of high quality honey and developing a cohesive image of honey production in the region. Beekeeping in Ajara has been practiced for centuries and still includes the capturing of wild swarms and cultivating of honey in logs known as ‘Jara’.

30/07/2015
The NFA Meetings with Honey and Meat Sector Representatives

The National Food Agency representatives met with entrepreneurs of honey and meat sectors in Kvemo Kartli and Ajara regions in July. The aim of the meetings was to inform local producers on the regulations and required standards for the quality production of meat and honey products in accordance with FS&H standards.

LATEST NEWS
Local TV launched in Tsalka
16/06/2022
On June 16th the Journalism Resource Centre celebrated the opening of the first local TV media TOK TV in Tsalka municipality. Three local journalists attended journalism courses on reporting for one month. As Tsalka is a multiethnic municipality the journalists represent Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian communities. ‘We will report on the issues that are important in increasing transparency and accountability among the general population and local officials. Reports related to agricultural issues will be one of the main topics for our work. Local people will be engaged in the decision-making around ongoing local development. Especially, this is important after the newly opened tourist attraction in Dashbashi Canyon.’ - Local Journalist Nazi Meshveliani said.
Switzerland and Austria Celebrating jointly their 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Georgia
24/06/2022
    On June 22nd, On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Georgia, as well as Austria with Georgia, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H. E. Heidi Grau and Ambassador of Austria to Georgia, H. E. Thomas Muehlmann planted a tree in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden. The Minister of Agriculture of Ajara AR, Zaza Shavadze and the Deputy Mayor of Khulo, Nadim Vasadze joined the event. The Goderdzi Alpine Garden is an important tourist destination in mountainous Ajara and a testimony of biodiversity and cultural richness of the region. Both ambassadors picked up on the theme of needing to balance development with sustainability and care for nature and that the garden is an excellent example of this. While the Director of Batumi Botanical Garden, Irakli Archaia emphasized the importance of the garden and initiated the idea of copying the model of the garden in other municipalities. The minister of Agriculture of Ajara, Zaza Shavadze stated thatcreating and supporting new opportunities for rural development is the key goal of the strategic framework of relations of Switzerland and Austria with Ajara region. H.E. Heidi Grau noted the excellent results achieved by ALCP in creating job and income opportunities for the rural population, including by supporting the production of Jara honey, and was pleased to announce that ‘Switzerland is engaging in a new phase of the ALCP project, together with Austria and joined by Sweden, until 2026, with a total budget of USD 6.5 million. This will allow to further facilitate production in beekeeping, dairy and meat, wild botanicals and silk, as well as support the development of the Goderdzi Botanical Garden, for the benefit of women and men living in mountainous regions,’ Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H. E. Heidi Grau said. The delegation visited Wool House in Klde Village, Samtskhe-Javakheti, the Georgian Milk Mark dairy enterprise, Natural Produktsia Ltd in Dioknisi Village, Khulo and honey processing factory, Agro Keda Ltd. The Austrian Ambassador H.E. Thomas Muehlmann underlined, that support in further development of the wool sector, as well as support in uniting the voices of beekeepers through support to their professional union created new opportunities for development for the rural population. ‘Support to rural and local development is a key aim of the new framework strategy of Austria with Georgia. We believe, that with joint efforts European countries will bring more experience and novelties to Georgia, which will trigger further development of the country,’ Austrian Ambassador H.E. Thomas Muehlmann said.
Georgian Milk Mark Dairies on Show
04/05/2022
The Cheese and Tea Exhibition showcasing Georgian traditional, as well as foreign produce was held at Mtatsminda Park on May 1st, 2022. Ten dairies with the Georgian Milk Mark (GMM) - Milkeni, Tsintskaro +, Meskhuri Gemo, Bebo’s Kveli, Suamta, Leanka, Alpuri Javakheti, Dertseli’s Nobati, Naturaluri Rdzis Gemo, Tsezari presented their products at the event organized by Anna Mikadze-Chikvaidze, the Head of the Cheese Producers Guild. Visitors tasted cheese and got to know about the GMM. Butter with spices, a new product by Milkeni, was their favourite. ‘The GMM contributed a lot to make this event happen. I am thankful to them for giving me an opportunity to discover amazing products, like butter with spices. I am glad that the GMM promotes raw milk production’ - Event founder Anna Mikadze-Chikvaidze praised the development of the GMM in her Facebook posts. Created in 2019, the GMM has twenty dairies currently using the mark. The GMM products are available in Madagoni, Spar, Tserti, Magniti, Smart, Ori Nabiji, Nikora, Zgapari, Fresco, Carrefour, Goodwill, Daily, Billion and Willmart supermarket chains. A comprehensive online portal www.georgianmilk.ge provides a profile per enterprise allowing consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique registration number printed on the label.         
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Sheep Dipping Guidelines
Georgian Traditional Beekeeping: Jara Honey Production GEO
The book will allow all VET colleges with beekeeping programmes to teach Jara as a subject from September 2022.
Bi Annual Report April 2021 to September 2021